When to Plant

  • Plant Heirloom Roses anytime from spring to early fall depending on the weather in your area.
  • Take temperatures into consideration. Roses need to be in the ground at least 6 weeks before your first frost in the fall or planted just after your last frost in the spring.
  • Allow time to establish before it gets cold and they go dormant. If they do not have enough roots established, they will not be able to break dormancy in the spring.
  • Waiting until the ground has warmed up in the spring will ensure that the rose will establish quickly and start to produce the desired growth.

How to Plant

How To Plant Your Heirloom Rose(s)

  • Begin with a soil test to determine pH and nutrient levels so that corrections can be made if needed. A pH of 6.5 is the point where nitrogen, phosphorous, and potassium (NPK), plus trace minerals are most easily available to your flowers. Arid regions tend to have alkaline soils and regions with heavy rainfall tend to have acidic soils.
  • Dig a BIG HOLE. It is the single most important factor in growing beautiful, large rose bushes. The hole needs to be 2 feet x 2 feet. Plant roots tend to stay inside the holes that they are planted in. By digging a big hole, the roots have room to spread. The more area the roots cover, the better the rose can absorb water and nutrients providing the desired top growth.
  • Prep the soil. Mix 1/3 peat moss with soil from the top 2/3 of the hole. Discard the soil from the bottom of the hole, as it is normally not as fertile as the top. Add 1 cup of bone meal to the mixture, and then place well-rotted cow or horse manure in the bottom 6 inches of the hole. It will provide food for the rose when the roots reach it after the first growing season. Manure and some compost can be hot, so putting it only in the bottom of the hole will prevent burning the fine feeder roots.
  • Fill the hole with enough soil mixture so the soil will sit 1 inch lower than the level of the surrounding area.
  • Squeeze the pot to loosen the plant, place one hand over the surface and turn upside down, catching the rose as it slides from the pot. Set the plant in place.
  • Fill with remaining soil mixture and water well. Using a bagged potting mix with fertilizer added to it could burn or stunt the young root development.



  • Water newly planted roses 2 to 3 times per week until established. Afterwards, give them a deep watering (2 inches) once a week or, if extremely warm, twice a week.
  • Water at the base of the plants to keep the foliage dry and prevent diseases. Well-watered roses are more disease resistant, as water deprivation stresses plants and makes them susceptible to disease and pests. If that is not an option, water early in the day making sure the rose has time to dry out before nightfall.
  • Water well before and after feeding or treating with anything.


  • Feed Heirloom's roses with a liquid only fertilizer the first season. Roses are heavy feeders and the granular fertilizers are too hot and will burn the fine baby roots and kill the rose.  We recommend Alaska Fish Fertilizer which may be used every three weeks while blooming.  Do not use any other fertilizer that starts in a granular form.
  • A granular type fertilizer can be used for the second season. A healthy own-root rose will reward you with beautiful blooms for many years to come.